Texian Stomping Grounds Page: 49
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By Roy Holt
The ordinary lowly bean, or frijole, as it is called in the
Southwest, has had and still has no little prestige and mention
in the history and life of this section. It is to the Southwest what
blackeyed peas are to East Texas, rice is to Louisiana, hominy is
to Georgia, ham to Virginia, and baked beans to Boston. A man
in the Southwest does not merely say, "Let's go to dinner," but
most invitingly he drawls, "Well, it's about bean time," or "Let's
go get some beans." Beans, not bread, are the staff of life in this
Beansl Beansl Red, white, pink, black, spotted, Lima, navy,
butter, wax, and Soy; or frijole colorado, frijole blanco, bayo
gordo, frijole negro, frijole rata-all offer a variety to the most
fastidious taste. Baked, boiled, stewed, steamed, and fried, they
offer a variety of culinary art. Chili pepper, garlic, and onion
add spice and flavor, if desirable. But of all beans, the red bean,
or the frijole, is the Southwest's own. It is the "West Texas
strawberry," or the "Pecos strawberry."
In the Southwest, beans are not merely "beans." They are
frijoles-pronounced fre-hol-es. In general usage this term is
applied to almost any variety of dried bean, which is a staple of
diet all over the Southwest and in Mexico. In almost any grocery
store in the Southwest and in Mexico, however, frijoles is the
term applied to a certain variety of the red bean which is grown
in Mexico, and along the Rio Grande in the United States and
in Colorado. Mexican stores and many American stores usually
carry only this variety of bean in stock because that is practically
the only variety demanded by the customers.
Webster states that "frijoles," or "frejols," are a cultivated
bean of the genus Phaseolus and are an important article of diet
among Spanish and American people. In actual usage in the
Southwest, all beans are not frijoles, and the buyer must know
the difference between the pinto, the red, and the brown beans
offered for sale.
The numerous varieties of beans, usually grouped under the
general term, frijole, in the Southwest, are handed down to us
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Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964. Texian Stomping Grounds, book, 1941; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67663/m1/57/: accessed May 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.